November 26, 2009
Austin Atwood

"HARDCORE TV"
Date: September 24 (25), 1995 (taped: September 16, 1995)
Location: ECW Arena (Philadelphia, PA)

In the WWE 24/7 preview, Joey & Tazz hype this as an episode of extreme debuts. They weren't just whistling Dixie, folks. Stay tuned.

The week begins with some highlights from last week's historic Double Dog Collar Match. I'd go into detail, but really, if you're too lazy to read the recap from that show, I have no sympathy for you. I note that Joey managed to screw up the first three-count as he was ahead of Molineaux by a count. Not sure it was worth pointing out, but what's done is done. All the major points of the match and the accompanying ga-ga are shown. This goes on for awhile before nicely segueing into…

The new champs cut a promo backstage, proudly announcing that not only did they take the titles, they took Francine as well. She was so dirty hot it's maddening.

Opening montage.

Backstage Joey does the line-up hype. He starts getting itchy when discussing "a returning star", so if you're familiar with old school ECW, you'll know who that is. He then throws it over to Lance Wright and his ridiculous hair for some hype of a different sort. A tag title rematch has been signed and it is going to feature two special refs – Bill Alphonso and Tod Gordon. Speaking of which, here they are to share their thoughts with Lance. Fonzie's sporting a neckbrace thanks to the chokeslam suffered at the hand of 911. He threatens some upcoming legal action once he gets in touch with his "big fat Jewish lawyer". They really live that "politically incorrect and damn proud of it" tagline, don't they? Gordon tries some threats of his own, but Fonzie nearly pops a gasket with his retort. Dear Lord, his face has gone candy apple red. That CAN'T be a good sign for his blood pressure.

More promo time, as Raven and Stevie get into the act. They're hiding out somewhere in the back where they've apparently made a fort out of cardboard boxes. Okay, not really. But there's a lot of boxes around. Once again Raven's promo makes little to no sense and I gotta say, I'm not really digging his work. He never really says anything and even when he does manage to make something resembling a point, it's hardly worth the wait. Stevie is his usual whiney self. Apparently in addition to the duel refs, it'll be a Lumberjack Match, but the only lumberjacks are going to be Big Dick Dudley and 911. Give Paul E. credit, he knows the match is likely to suck, so he's loading up on the stips.

Backstage Joey again, who recaps the recent trials and tribulations of J.T. Smith and his attempted transformation into an Italian. Joey makes a bunch of Italian jokes, but I'm more German-English, so it's lost on me.

HACK MYERS vs. J.T. SMITH
(referee: Jim Molineaux)

Good heavens, haven't we already seen this match-up enough? J.T. gets on the mic before things get underway to ask his "fellow pizanos" in attendence to NOT chant "shit" when he throws a punch. I'm sure they'll oblige, J.T., they LOVE you. On to the match. Hack wins a lock-up and moves things to the ropes, but J.T. brings him over with a headlock and Hack counters that to a headscissor in that generic opening sequence that we used to watch Al Snow teach the newbies on Tuff Enuff. Hack then works his own headlock and they repeat the sequence. CLIP. The fans get on J.T. with some "shit!" chants as he punches. Hard to believe they wouldn't honor his wishes. He slips scaling the ropes in order to talk trash to the assembled masses, so of course that just gives them (and Joey) more ammunition. Hack pulls him down and goes back to the headlock. Overhead wristlock by J.T., but Hack switches into a hammerlock. J.T. counters into one of his own and segues into a side headlock. Thumb to the eye by Smith. CLIP. J.T. is talking to ref Molineaux and the crowd is going ape over something, although we have no idea what. He goes for a slingshot pescado onto Hack, but of course the Shah simply moves and J.T. SPLATS onto the concrete. He then eats a clothesline for his troubles. CLIP. To the bleachers we go where J.T. tries for a piledriver but ends up getting backdropped instead. That earns an "ECW!" chant, although I hardly see why. Even back then that was fairly pedestrian. They go back into the ring for some Shah punches and J.T. takes a SERIOUS flip on a backbodydrop! Holy crap! He was so out of control on that it actually made me laugh when I saw it. CLIP. Smith in control, but he heads up top to jaw with the fans while Joey makes lasagna jokes. For no apparent reason Smith just falls off and through a ringside table. Okay, that was just dumb. It's one thing for him to get his kneepads caught on the ropes or to slip while leaping onto them, but he just fell off like a drunk. Ah well. So much for the five-star mat classic that he and Myers were putting on. The bell rings out of nowhere and Bob Artese announces Myers as the winner due to disqualification, which even Joey has a hard time explaining. J.T. gets on Artese's case, but even Bob isn't intimidated by J.T.

Result: Hack Myers via disqualification or countout (4:59 shown).

Backstage Joey is laughing at J.T.'s ineptitude, although he apologizes for it. "I'm a journalist. I'm not Bobby Heenan or Gene Okerlund". Right, Joey. They're actually funny. He can't pull it together so we go to a break.

Back with 2 Cold Scorpio, singing a little Lionel Richie to put over his third TV title reign. Yeah, don't ask.

Backstage Joey talks about Scorpio bringing in the Eliminators (Kronus and Saturn) for their ECW debut, bringing along with them "The Sexiest Man Alive" Jason, which once again causes Joey to break out into hives.

RICK STEINER & SCOTT STEINER & TAZ vs. JASON & KRONUS & SATURN (w/ 2 Cold Scorpio)
(referee: John Finnegan)

Jason is essentially replacing Scorpio in the match. Everybody pairs up for some slugging but the Steiners and Taz quickly take over with backdrops to clear the ring. CLIP. Scott gets the better of Saturn and then Kronus with some hiptosses, followed by brother Rick taking them both down with a double Steinerline. CLIP. Scoop and a slam by Kronus on Rick sets up the somersault legdrop that is admittedly pretty cool from a guy his size. CLIP. Rick runs through Kronus with another Steinerline. Saturn comes in to eat one too. Two-count on Kronus follows. Tag to Scott for CLIP. Jason in for the first time and he lays some kicks into Scott but gets suplexed pretty soon after and thrown outside where Rick whips him into a clothesline by Taz, who's neck is CLEARLY not in good shape. You have to wonder why he's even out there, as he can't do anything physical without grabbing his neck. I know, he's "selling", but I'm pretty sure that it's not an act. You can just tell. Back inside Scott hits a "Wedgieplex" on Jason. Yup, it's just like it sounds. Jason rolls to the corner and tags in Saturn… CLIP… who quickly eats a belly-to-belly. CLIP. Not to be outdone, Rick brings Saturn off the top with a belly-to-belly SUPERPLEX! CLIP. Scott drops Saturn with his sort-of Samoan drop from the second rope. Kronus breaks the count at one. Jason makes his way in and now Taz is apparently healthy enough to fire some punches into Jason's pretty face. His neck's still not cooperating though, as he keeps stopping to grab it. He shoves the ref over for having the GALL to check on him though. Scorpio comes in and drills a kick into Taz's armpit (or "neck" if your name is Joey Styles) and then puts Jason on top for the uno, dos, tres. Serves you right for attacking the ref, dumbass.

Result: Jason & Kronus & Saturn via pinfall (3:20 shown)

You know I *think* that was a good match, but I'll be damned if I know for sure given the way it was hacked to pieces. The Eliminators didn't look like much, but again, that may be a result of the clipping. Either way they didn't do anything to make the debut seem like much of anything.

We cut right away to a backstage promo where Rick Steiner tries to make Taz feel better despite losing to girly-man Jason. Brother Scott ain't having it though, as he starts going off on "all those feminine wrestlers like Johnny B. Badd, Goldust, Shawn Michaels". Ouch. Tell us how you really feel, Scott. You can actually see Taz cracking up. They then slip in some footage from '94 to show that the Jason vs Taz issue goes way back while Taz cuts what would appear to be the first real promo of his career. It's pretty subdued, but effective.

Time for some highlights of Mikey Whipwreck pinning the ECW Champ Sandman in a non-title match at Wrestlepalooza back in early August. Sandman stands in front of the ECW banner to cut a promo on the little runt. He is NOT happy. Woman tells Mikey "you could never become the man that I could make you". She tells him this FOUR times, just so he gets the point. Swing it over to Lance Wright at Hype Central, but before he can pimp the upcoming ECW Arena line-up, Beulah comes into the picture and plays with his hair, turning Lance into a human puddle.

PSICOSIS vs. REY MISTERIO JR.
(referee: John Finnegan)

More debuts, as Extreme Lucha Libre makes it's first appearance courtesy of two guys you may have heard of. Once again Joey goes into douchebag overdrive, taking a shot at Bobby Heenan while trying to put over how serious ECW takes it's product. Dude, do you even WATCH your show? A couple of weeks ago we had the Public Enemy using a doll with *blackface*, but now all of the sudden Heenan's Mexican jokes are low class? I gotta say, one of the things that has always annoyed me about wrestling is the way the promotions feel the need to take back-handed swipes at each other, as if any of us would ever go, "You know, he's right. I'm not gonna watch the other guys any more". Let's be honest, Joey would have given his left nut to have Heenan as his colorman. Anyway, rant over. Rey is looking MICROSCOPIC here, as it's sad to compare how bloated he got in the mid 2000's. Psicosis oversells an armdrag by sliding outside and into the front row. Back in he asks for a test-of-strength, but settles for an arm-wringer into a flying hammerlock that PANCAKES Rey into the mat. Hammerlock stays on until Rey breaks things with a snapmare. They then go into one of those convoluted sequences that make it look like they're cooperating on a dance routine rather than engaged in a fight. Rey drops down on a criss-cross and Psicosis hits an elbow to the back and then a pretty wicked tigerbomb. Rey charges and Psicosis LAUNCHES him straight up and down onto his stomach. Ouch. He then drives Rey into the turnbuckle stomach-first and then gets a legdrop on the apron. Lawn dart time, as Rey goes into the buckles again courtesy of a press-slam. Flying dropkick and Psicosis is in firm control. He gets something that Joey calls a Frisbee Slam (works for me) and then a legdrop. Kinda weak chops follow. Corner-whip is followed with what could best be described as a flying ass attack in the corner. He tries a second one in the opposite corner but Rey is wise to it and dodges, leading Psicosis and his ass to attack the corner, which doesn't go so well. Rey springboards in from the apron into the hurricanrana into a cradle that would later become the "West Coast Pop" during his WWE run. It gets two, but Psicosis muscles out. Rey cartwheels into another hurricanrana and then into a flying headscissor before the two men start exchanging chops on the apron. Psicosis kicks Rey onto his back while still on the apron, then charges and gets kicked up and ONTO the corner post – FACE FIRST!! That… that could leave a mark. Rey doesn't capitalize all that well though and Psicosis turns a corner charge into Rey eating the buckle. He slams Rey and goes up top for a pretty legdrop (Tijuana Jam?) for two, although he argues with Finnegan that it should have been three. Quick powerbomb gets another two. Spinning heel kick sends Rey outside and that opens the door for Psicosis to try a running suicida. WRONG MOVE, BENDEJO!! Rey stops Psicosis in mid-flight with a pretty wicked chair shot in a spot that would be stolen by Benoit and Jericho at the 2001 Royal Rumble. Joey puts it over with his first official "Oh dios mio!" call. Crowd is eating it all up with a spoon, I might add. Or maybe a spork. Both men roll their way back in, and it's actually Psicosis who jump starts things by dropkicking Rey's knee. Another slam and twisting moonsault get two. Joey takes a stab at Bischoff and McMahon's commentary abilities. Rey avoids a running knee in the corner by Psicosis, which sends him outside. Rey charges for a tope, but puts the breaks on via an empty 619 (the motion minus the headkick) when Psicosis sees him coming and moves. So Rey casually hits a springboard plancha instead that puts them deep into the ECW faithful. They've adapted quickly, I'll give them that. Back inside and Psicosis slaps Rey down from the top rope. It's only a temporary fix though, as Rey hops right back up and takes Psicosis down with a top rope hurricanrana for the UNO! DOS! TRES!! Finish was kind of out of nowhere, but whatever.

Result: Rey Misterio Jr. via pinfall (10:19).

Nice little match there between two guys who are VERY familiar with each other. They did a good job of mixing some ECW-style into what was probably their usual match at the time. I'm not a huge lucha fan because I just have a hard time buying so much of the offense when it's sooooo choreographed, but this wasn't bad. Certainly a good debut and it was a DEFINITE change of pace for ECW, which is usually so much garbage.

Backstage Joey is all geared up to put the luchadores over, but before he can get going he gets handed a headset and is apparently told we've got something going on in the locker room. The Public Enemy and The Gangstas are apparently going at it. What follows is one of the CHEESIEST segments any promotion has ever done, as New Jack "punches out" the camera, leading Joey to throw it to the FanCam, which Johnny Grunge promptly knocks out. The premise is fine, but the acting from NJ and Grunge was BEYOND AWFUL. Back to Joey who says the only camera left is apparently the one on him, so they head to the back because Joey MUST GET THE STORY! The bad acting continues and as New Jack and Grunge exchange words. The rest of the lockerroom gets involved and the camera pans around to find yet another debuting ECW Superstar, as it's Steve Austin doing THE GREATEST HULK HOGAN IMMITATION EVER!! If you've never seen this bit before, it's an off-the-rails must-see CLASSIC! He's got the yellow bandana and t-shirt going, with "Steve-a-Mania" helpfully written in magic marker across the shirt, and is just nailing the Hoganisms. You have to picture him pointing and flexing through the whole thing like a total jackass as he rips through the following.

STYLES: You're Steve Austin!

AUSTIN: You know that's where you're wrong, Mean Joey, because Steve Austin doesn't have what it takes to get it done in the ECW, brother. I was never allowed to reach past mid-card status in the WCW, brother. So you know what, dude, I looked at the greatest heavyweight champion of all time, brother, and I knew that I had to say my prayers, I had to take the vitamins, brother I had to start training again, I had to get my mind right to do what it takes to get in done in the WCW, dude. And let me tell you something…

In comes Johnny Grunge as the #1 Steve-a-Maniac.

GRUNGE: OHHHH! IT’S STEVE-A-MANIA!!

Austin does the Hogan finger wag to scare him off.

AUSTIN: Let me tell ya something dude, the Stevester's here. Steve-a-Mania is gonna run wild on the ECW, brother. Steve-a-Mania! I'm taking my vitamins, I'm saying' my prayers…

He stops in mid-rant and rips off the bandana, suddenly getting serious. The t-shirt soon follows.

AUSTIN: I'm not gonna do this [bleep] ANYWHERE. Not even in the ECW. Because there's no way this lame ass [bleep] is gonna get the job done ANYWHERE.

Having said his peace, Austin walks out, leaving a stunned Joey Styles to close with a quietly shocked "Oh my God". And THAT, my friends, is the extreme debut to end all extreme debuts.

Overview: So we get Jason's return, the Eliminators debut, Psicosis and Rey Misterio Jr's in-ring debuts, and the surprise debut of the man who within three years would be one of the top five wrestling stars of all time. Yeah, not a bad night. The opening match sucked, of course, and we didn't really see enough of the Eliminators to judge, but the lucha match was damn fine and that closing segment (aside from the uber-cheese) was GOLD. For a one hour program, that's pretty good.

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